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HomeChampions LeagueDeclan Rice claims Arsenal have to be 'savvy' to get past Porto

Declan Rice claims Arsenal have to be ‘savvy’ to get past Porto

Declan Rice acknowledges that Arsenal must develop their Champions League “savvy” as Mikel Arteta’s youthful team continues to gain experience.

In the first leg of Arsenal’s last 16 encounter against Porto on Wednesday night, the Gunners suffered a 1-0 defeat, with Galeno’s remarkable last-minute goal securing victory for the hosts.

Arsenal’s dismal performance in Champions League knockout matches persists, as they have not won beyond the group stages since 2010. Under Arsene Wenger, they exited at the last-16 stage for seven consecutive years.

Despite securing a return to European football’s elite competition for the first time since 2017, Arteta’s side faced a setback at the Estadio do Dragao.

With only Kai Havertz from their starting lineup in Porto having prior experience in Champions League knockout matches, Rice admitted that Arsenal’s lack of experience proved costly in the closing stages.

Rice admits Arsenal’s inexperience in conceding against Porto

“I think the last minute is probably a bit of inexperience,” he replied when asked if Arteta’s young team were on a steep learning curve.

“Just probably having a bit more savviness, in terms of it’s the 93rd minute, you look up at the clock, it’s 0-0, we gave a ball away on the edge of our box twice and then he bends one in the top bins.

“So we have got to have a bit of savviness to see out the game, because if you can’t win, definitely don’t lose – especially in a knockout game. But look, we are still positive. It is half-time in a two-leg tie and we will be ready for the next leg.

“You look at our team, we are such a young group. Some of us have not played in the Champions League before, so it is all about learning on the job.

“But we have to play better than we did tonight. They made it really tough, but in the second leg we will be ready to go and give it everything.

“I think it is good to have nerves – you get that experience and you need that to play in the biggest games. Whether there is nerves or no nerves, I think these are the type of games we need to learn from on the way and it is going to make us better overall.”

Ethan Dempsey
Ethan Dempsey
Ethan is a lifelong football fan. When he is not obsessing over the Premier League games, Ethan likes to read fantasy tomes, watch football documentaries and waste hours upon hours on video games.
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